Have the pottery shipped home, of course. But if it were that simple I would not be writing about it. There is much more to the experience of buying something fragile that you cannot carry in your panniers. It’s a science, in fact, and I am here to tell you how it is done in the clearest way possible so that you can try it too.
Shop with a Gemini It is a universal truth that Geminis cannot for the life of them make a decision. This is not to say they aren’t charming, don’t have your back or aren’t cheerful when the clock is ticking. But when presented with myriad beautiful objects d’art in Deruta, for example, do not expect a snap decision from a Gemini. Even when the sun is setting. And the rest of your cycling group has departed for the next town, Spello. Including the Guides. And Spello is thirty miles away.
Have no plan. This is crucial. It is best not to have read-up on the next day’s adventures and to know only that Deruta has some nice pottery, and that the group will stop there only briefly to look around. The joy you feel at arriving in Deruta and finding beautiful pottery at every corner is unforgettable, and to have planned ahead to see as many pottery shops as possible before cycling to Spello before sunset would have been a killjoy.
Do not train for the bike trip ahead of time. This would also detract from the whole adventure. It’s best to stay too long in one place and then hope adrenalin kicks in when you need it. To have spent all those hours before the trip training for long bike-rides without just cause seems tedious. There’s no better fuel for a speedy bike ride than knowing that while you were shopping for the perfect piece of pottery everyone else has left; your landmarks to the next town are only visible in daylight and you have no flashlight; you’re in a foreign country; better yet, you don’t speak the language; oh, and you’re two women cycling alone but hey, it’s Italy so no worries.
Shop with a moral imperative. Here is how it’s done: walk through the archway into Deruta and assume that any shop near the entrance will try to rip you off. Stick your nose in the air and keep walking even if the shop owners are kind. When you come to the next shop, start looking at pottery in earnest. It is here that the real challenge begins: you start thinking about your home décor. Colors of pottery become very important at this stage. The male proprietor sees you in the throws of color anxiety and comes in for the kill. Move on, and say that you’ll be back. Swear to your Gemini friend that you won’t come back. Turn the corner and see six more pottery shops. This is where moral considerations come into play: decide to buy from real artisans not just dealers. Decide you want some red in the pottery. Think that you want platters. No, bowls. A salad bowl. Pass some beautiful open-air studios where you see green, blue and yellow pottery. But still want some red. You’ll see row after row of male artisans, so now you’ll decide that the artisan from whom you buy must be a woman. At this stage it is important to stay with the moral imperative and not notice that it’s getting dark, there are fewer people around, and that neither of you has bought any pottery yet.
Buy with frantic abandon. A Tour Guide finally turns back to find you and gives you the straight facts: that you have thirty more miles to bike and the sun is setting. The Taurus in your group will move into full-purchase mode and suggest strongly that you go to one of the shops near the entrance and just buy something, anything. The Gemini, bless her soul, is unphased. Another half-hour needs to elapse before you depart for the next town, just to add to the sense of adventure. Oh, and both of you must be hungry, thirsty, and need to use the bathroom before departure.
Laugh with friends over dinner that night about your adventure as though this happens to you every day. This is very important. And be sure to have this discussion while sitting down, because neither one of you will be able to walk.
This guest blog post was written by Katy who lives and works in the Boston area with her husband, two daughters and two yellow labs. They do not own goats.
Cover Photo Via: http://www.themarthablog.com/